PITTSBORO — During an abbreviated Chatham County Board of Commissioners meeting March 16, the board postponed two public hearings on the Williams Corner development and scheduled a public hearing …
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PITTSBORO — During an abbreviated Chatham County Board of Commissioners meeting March 16, the board postponed two public hearings on the Williams Corner development and scheduled a public hearing on borrowing funds for radio equipment and towers for emergency services.
The 10-minute meeting was necessary — “We’re conducting the basic business that the county needs to get done,” said board Vice Chairman Diana Hales — but short on actual action due to COVID-19, the novel coronavirus. The county government had announced the previous Thursday that it was shortening the meeting to avoid large gatherings.
The meeting had been slated to hold two public hearings on changes to the Williams Corner development. Developed by Chris Ehrenfeld — a partner investor in Chatham Media Group, which owns the News + Record — and Bold Commercial Real Estate, the project is expected to be built in three phrases over seven years, beginning with apartments and retail at the Lystra intersection. Phase 2 will feature offices and storage space and Phase 3 will see the construction of more apartments.
The project’s website argues that “being in close proximity to a desirable mixed use community like this typically increases” neighboring property values, and says developers will make “approximately $2 million of off-site improvements” required by the N.C. Dept. of Transportation.
The public hearings will allow for community input on various zoning changes and text amendments.
The other public hearing revolves around $18 million of borrowing the county is slated to do to pay for upgrades to its emergency communications and radio system. The county already received more than $2.3 million in grant money from the North Carolina 911 Board.
Mike Reitz, the county’s emergency communications director, explained to commissioners last May the need for an overhaul to the system.
“The current infrastructure is at the end of life,” Reitz said. “The current system is just out-dated, doesn’t provide good safety measures for responders. We have challenges every single day with communicating.”
The April meeting is currently scheduled to be held at the Chatham County Agriculture & Conference Center in Pittsboro, as this meeting was.
Reporter Zachary Horner can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @ZachHornerCNR.